Saturday, February 14, 2009

Field Trips!

Yesterday was the day I attended the Madrona Fiber Arts Winter Retreat. So far I have only managed to go for one day and next year I may have to stay longer. I took Nancy Bush's 6-hour class, Estonian Kolmnurk Ratik Shawl (triangular shawl). The time flew by as we listened to Nancy's stories of her research and visits to Estonia. She had samples of shawls she had purchased there as well as shawls she had made for inclusion in her new book, Knitted Lace of Estonia. They were breathtaking.

I managed to get about 1/3 finished on my sampler shawl. One over-achiever finished her small shawl, then went to the marketplace to buy some lace yarn to start a pattern in the book. That's all I'll say about her!

I met my virtual twin, Cathy-Cate and my Spring Fling travelling companion, Sam, for lunch and enjoyed it very much. Sam inspired us with her purchases from the Rainy Days & Wooly Dogs booth, and Cathy and I had to visit there later in the day and buy something. I got this beautiful Superfine Merino roving and she was picking out sock yarn the last I saw.

We also visited Crown Mountain Farms, where Cathy got some hilarious knitting cards and I got some more Superfine Merino in this lovely natural color. It is soft as a cloud.

We managed to resist the yak, cashmere and camel blends although they were incredibly soft. Perhaps online shopping is in store now that I know what they look and feel like in real life.

I also bought some wonderful handcream that I get every year from the Harmony Skin Care guy. I like the Vanilla Lavender.

My other purchase was a Cascade spindle. I bought the Mt. Shuksan model; this one is about 2-1/4" across the whorl and weighs a little less than an ounce. I tried it out and indeed liked it.

If the market hadn't closed, I think we might still be there. Next year I'll allow more time for shopping! We had a very nice dinner at a little bistro we found and I thoroughly enjoyed the day. I didn't take any photos, but you can look on Sam's blog for the picture she took of Cathy and me. We're both wearing our Shetland Triangle shawls, but hers shows up much more than mine does. I didn't plan ahead and couldn't find a light color to wear underneath it so it would show up better. I'll have more details and better photos of the shawl on another blog entry.

My spindle collection is growing but I found a benefit to having a bunch of different ones. You can start spinning a lot of different fibers at once if you have many spindles to use. I save one for plying and I'm set.

I promised Goatlady that I'd send her a picture of my new Golding spindle. It's the tiny 2" Tsunami. It's beautiful but I haven't quite gotten the hang of spinning with it yet. Here it is pictured next to one of my other new favorites, a Spindlewood square whorl. I love that one.

The other field trip that I didn't report on was the Seattle to Portland yarn train on January 24th. A friend and I departed King Street Station in Seattle with about 58 other knitters at 7:30 am for a fun-filled trip to Portland. The train trip down passed in a flash as we visited with everyone and knit on the project that Charisa, the organizer, had provided for everyone. I don't have photos of this either, but look here to see a picture of me in my Kauni. It's so much fun to wear hand knits to a gathering of knitters. They really appreciate them!

We arrived in Portland around 11:00 am and were met by my Portland friend. She was excited to go with us so we got to get out of the downtown area and visit some other yarn stores. My favorite was Twisted, where I bought some great yarn and saw with my own eyes a Clapotis made from Wollmeise. That has to be on my list for future knitting. It was beautiful. The person (employee of the store) wearing it was very cute as she explained that "You can't get this yarn here." When I found out what it was, I just laughed, having experienced my share of stalking The Loopy Ewe and Claudia's website, mostly to no avail.

Here is the yarn I bought that day. Panda Silk sock yarn, Dream in Color Starry for a wrap, and some Zen String that I couldn't resist were all purchased at Twisted. I got a pattern for a lace scarf (Snowdrop by Donna Arney) at Dublin Bay Knitting Company and some beautiful roving and Casbah at Knit Purl.

We stopped by Powell's Books (can't go to Portland and not stop there) where I bought a novel and a copy of 101 Luxury Yarn One Skein Wonders. My internet friend, Sarah-Hope, has a lovely hat pattern in this book and there are many more patterns that I would like to make.

We returned to the Portland train station around 5:30 pm and left for home about 6:00. On the way back we had a chance to look and drool over everyone's stash additions and then just settle down quietly and knit. It was a really fun day and I look forward to doing it again.